Bollywood has witnessed the rise and fall of many actors throughout its history. Among them, there was one towering figure who left an indelible mark with his intense performances as a villain. Mukesh Rishi, popularly known as ‘Bulla,’ stood tall at 6 feet 3 inches, with piercing eyes and a menacing expression that sent shivers down the audience’s spines. However, despite his commanding presence, Bollywood turned its back on him, leading him to explore opportunities in South Indian films. This decision turned out to be a game-changer for Mukesh Rishi, as he not only found support in the South film industry but also managed to turn his fate around. Let’s delve deeper into his journey and the impact he made in the world of cinema.
The Rise of Mukesh Rishi as a Villain
In the 1990s, Mukesh Rishi portrayed several iconic villainous characters that left an indelible impact on the audience. Whether it was his portrayal of ‘Billa Jalani’ in ‘Gardish,’ ‘Tiger’ in ‘Judwaa,’ or ‘Vasim Khan’ in Sunny Deol’s film ‘Indian,’ he effortlessly commanded attention whenever he appeared on the screen. Mukesh Rishi’s towering persona, combined with his powerful voice and intense dialogue delivery, made him a force to be reckoned with in Bollywood.
Bollywood Turns Its Back
However, as the new millennium approached, the dynamics of the industry began to change. Bollywood started favoring a different style of storytelling, with a shift towards more urban-centric narratives. Unfortunately, this change marginalized actors like Mukesh Rishi, whose larger-than-life villainous roles became less prominent in the evolving landscape. As a result, opportunities started dwindling for him in Bollywood.
Embracing South Indian Cinema
Undeterred by the setback, Mukesh Rishi decided to explore opportunities beyond Bollywood. He ventured into the vibrant world of South Indian cinema, which provided a fertile ground for his talent and distinct screen presence. His imposing figure and intense performances resonated with the South Indian audience, and he quickly found a supportive fan base in the region.
Exploring Diverse Roles
In the South Indian film industry, Mukesh Rishi expanded his repertoire by taking on a wide range of roles. He embraced the opportunity to portray not only menacing villains but also characters with positive shades. One of his notable positive roles came in Aamir Khan’s critically acclaimed film ‘Sarfarosh,’ where he portrayed the character of Salim. With his remarkable portrayal, Mukesh Rishi proved his versatility and showcased a different facet of his acting prowess.
Becoming a South Indian Icon
Mukesh Rishi’s association with South Indian films went beyond mere appearances. He immersed himself in the culture and traditions of the region, which reflected in his performances. Whether it was donning traditional attire or adapting to the nuances of the regional languages, he seamlessly integrated himself into the fabric of South Indian cinema. Audiences began to recognize him as a South Indian actor, appreciating his dedication and commitment to his craft.
A Prolific Career
Mukesh Rishi’s journey in the world of cinema extends far beyond Bollywood and South Indian films. Throughout his illustrious career, he has worked in over 180 films, spanning multiple languages and regional industries. His versatility and ability to captivate the audience with his performances have made him a sought-after actor in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Odia, Kannada, and Bhojpuri films.